Introduction to South Australia


Developed without convict labour, South Australia presents differently in some respects to the other states. Certainly the large German migration in the 1800s affected both the land-use and culture of the state, greatly influencing the food and wine industries.

The Barossa, especially, thrives because of this. The German accent of the area is less apparent now, but still evident in the wide variety of deli items, breads and smallgoods, and of course the wines produced there.

The Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and Fleurieu Peninsula are also rich with wine and food producers. In all these areas, farmhouse cheeses, berry producers, yabby farmers and apiarists abound, and are repeated on Kangaroo Island, a case-in-point of how diversification, due to falling prices of traditional industries, can be turned to advantage by gutsy and energetic farmers.

Yet much of the land in South Australia is wild and inhospitable to small holdings. In the north and west, large stations run cattle and sheep, or raise wheat, but the coastlines of the three peninsulas mine the wealth of seafood, oysters, fish, tuna and abalone from the Southern Ocean.

And then there is lovely Adelaide. Laid out on classic lines, encircled by parkland, backdropped by hills, this city is a gastronomic paradise. This was the first city to legalise the use of kangaroo and emu, bush foods are alive and well here, as is the state's other rich produce. From markets to outdoor dining, formal restaurants to riverside dining, this city takes its food very seriously.


In 2011 South Australia tourism has massively outstripped the nation with a 7.4 per cent rise in domestic visitor expenditure this year, compared to zero growth nationally.

Visitor numbers to South Australia have also risen 6.1 per cent and topped the nation with an increase of 7.4 per cent in visitor nights, according to new National Visitor Survey statistics released today.

SA Minister for Tourism, Gail Gago, says this is great news as the State's tourism operators prepare for their busiest time of the year.

"We're bucking the national trend during a difficult time for Australian tourism, and these figures are especially important for our regional tourism operators, who rely so heavily on the domestic tourists who make up 93 per cent of our State's overnight visitors," Minister Gago says.

"The statistics show that the rise in domestic visitation is, in fact, being fuelled by regional tourism growth, with a hike of 7.1 per cent in overnight visitor numbers to regional South Australia.

"The State Government's long-term strategy of ongoing investment in innovative and sustainable tourism infrastructure across the State, coupled with strategic and successful marketing campaigns targeting high-yield domestic visitors, is clearly paying dividends, she says.

Minister Gago says she expects this growth to continue as the Government invests in its Best Backyard campaign to encourage South Australians to explore their own State, and prepares to launch a new multi-million dollar interstate campaign in the New Year.

"Our brilliant summer events period, which kicks off with the Santos Tour Down Under and continues with the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, WOMADelaide, Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival, will also bring visitors from around Australia and the globe to our State," she says.

"These latest results, coupled with last week's growth in international visitor expenditure, make tourism a $4.7 billion industry for South Australia, up 6.9 per cent on a year ago compared to 0.9 per cent growth nationally. 

National Visitor Survey results for the 12 months ended September 2011 include (compared to the previous year):

-        7.4% rise in SA domestic visitor expenditure to $3.98 billion, compared to zero change nationally.

-        18.75 million domestic visitor nights spent in SA, up 7.4%, outperforming all other states and territories and the nation.

-        7.1% increase in domestic overnight visitor numbers to SA's regional areas, pumping dollars into local communities.

-       Highest growth of all states and territories in domestic holiday purpose travel for SA, with domestic tourist numbers up 6.5% and nights up 12.2%. Nationally holiday visitors and nights were unchanged.

-       6.9% growth in total SA travel expenditure (includes both domestic and international) to $4.7 billion, compared to 0.9% growth nationally.

(from South Australian Tourism Commission)


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